8 May 2015

What will the next five years of Tory rule look like?

The Tories have swept to power with an unexpected majority and the resignation of their three rival leaders. With such a mandate, what might the second term look like? Channel 4 News asked experts.

Anthony Seldon

Tony Blair’s biographer and headmaster of Wellington College

“The question of Europe will dominate all the way until 2017. Big public programmes such as the Northern powerhouse and the completion of Universal Credit will be put into motion almost immediately. And without the Liberal Democrats, expect to see far harder lines taken on issues like terrorism and immigration.

“At the same time expect David Cameron to work to show that the Conservatives are the party of social justice. They’ll want to unveil the raft of proposals to counter stereotypes of being the ‘nasty party’.”

Sarah Beeny

Presenter and entrepreneur

“The Conservatives have earned their mandate from their record of economic competence. The country is still fearful of going back to the days of high spending and this government will want to instil that sense of continuity.

“Eventually however cuts are going to have to be made – but they will have learned lessons from the first term. You’re not going to see excessive and unjust legislation such as the Bedroom Tax or Michael Gove’s school reform. Instead there will be a focus on trying to fix the things that were not received well.”

Oliver James

Psychologist and author

“The next five years will be a world of rampant inequality and Darwinian tyranny by the elite. But it will masquerade under warmer terms such as the ‘Big Society’, ‘feminism’ and ‘compassionate Conservatism’. Deep down though the country will change and continue to move closer to America, where the politics of aspiration is fuelled and encouraged to push those to compete against one another.

“Middle England will march to the tune and the next lines of attack against their opposition will be formed. One of Miliband’s greatest failures was not challenging the lie that George Osborne’s austerity policy was a result of Labour’s overspending. They let it go.”

Richard Vaughtry

Deputy chairman of BMA deputy committee

“The NHS was one of the most dangerous battlegrounds for the Conservatives during the election campaign. In the next five years they will do more to integrate the service but you won’t see the heavy-handed restructuring that defined the first half of the first term.

“Instead they will try to show improvements at the point of delivery through the implementation of seven-day surgeries and longer opening hours. But there are big funding challenges and whoever is appointed health secretary will have their work cut out.”